Ranma 1/2 Movie 2: Nihao My Concubine Anime Review
らんま1/2 決戦桃幻郷! 花嫁を奪りもどせ!!
Ranma Nibunnoichi - Kessen Tougenkyou! Hanayome wo Torimodose!!
Ranma 1/2 - Decisive Battle at Tougenkyou! Recapture the Bride!!
US Release By
Martial Arts Love Comedy
In this second Ranma 1/2 movie, the plot is nearly identical to the first one, spring under a castle and all. When a cruise to christen Kuno's new yacht goes awry, it turns into "Ranma's Island," where Gilligan turns into a woman, the Skipper keeps ending up as a panda, and everybody and their sister is a martial arts expert. Before long, all those pretty girls start disappearing, with only a perfect peach left in their place. Using Ranma as a decoy, the remaining castaways discover that the prince of the island of illusions is rounding up every pretty girl in the island chain to provide himself with a wide selection of brides in his search for a princess. Everybody heads off, of course, to rescue Akane and friends, but things are complicated just a bit: you see, that prince has a gourd filled with water that can turn any creature into a man, and while the real girls are a little nervous around it, Ranma isn't about to pass up a chance like that. So, while everyone else is trying to preform a proper rescue, Ranma is busy participating in the prince's martial arts marriage contest, doing his darnedest to get chosen by the prince and get close enough to have a shot at that gourd...
Okay, I'll say it now: This film isn't as good as the first one. It was funnier (slightly), but things just didn't work out when you compare it to "Big Trouble in Nekonron, China." That's not to say it isn't a good film--when I say it isn't as good as the first, remember that I really loved movie 1. And this was also very enjoyable, but...
My first complaint is the prince--Toma, or whatever his name is. Stand him next to Prince Kirin from movie 1 and he just doesn't compare. You have to feel some empathy for him because his mother died when he was young, but you get the feeling that he really doesn't deserve your sympathy. The best thing about him, though, was his character design--a good deal more original than Kirin's. But Kirin spoke in the third person, which I always find entertaining, and he's basically a cooler character.
I found Ranma's goofing around in the bridal contest to be more ridiculous than actually funny. For the first time, I actually noticed how much more immature Ranma is when he's female, although the climatic showdown with Toma wasn't bad. But otherwise, Ranma had a pretty lousy time in this movie--he was really in it for himself, not Akane, which ticks me off.
I don't get to see much Ranma over here in Australia, but this was simple fun stuff. I'd give it a three and leave it at that, but...
There was one scene in this film which I really, really liked. I am referring to the battle between Mousse and the birdman, with Shampoo as the prize. It was easily the best fight in the movie, and I have a soft spot for heroes who simply refuse to die when fighting for what they love (I also like Mousse--he's my third favourite Ranma character). That shot this film up to a 4 in my books.
In conclusion, this film isn't anything special by Ranma standards, but you will probably enjoy it anyway.
Notes and Trivia
This is the second of three Ranma 1/2 theatrical movies.
The English title, "Nihao My Concubine" is, like those of the other two films, a play on the title of another movie, in this case the Chinese film "Farewell My Concubine."
There's a little easter egg on the nifty DVD for this title; if you go to the VIZ information menu and select the peach to the left, you'll get a scene where Ukyo is replaced by a giant peach.